2020-2021 National Legislative Ambassador
Stay Informed and Be Engaged!
We need to ensure that we are pro-active and effective advocates for our veterans, service members and their families. There are three Legislative Program Goals this year. I refer to them as the “3 Bs” of the Legislative Program.
- BE AN ADVOCATE – Join the VFW Action Corps: Every VFW Auxiliary Member is a veterans’ advocate! We need your help to build our grassroots advocacy network by joining the VFW Action Corps. The VFW Action Corps is not just for VFW or VFW Auxiliary Members. Reach out and invite family members, friends, neighbors and colleagues who care about our veterans. When you do, you will receive a free weekly e-newsletter. By signing-up as a subscriber, you can stay in-the-know on key issues affecting veterans and the military. You’ll get the latest information on a weekly basis on key veterans’ legislation, national security matters and other news affecting America’s defenders. In addition, you will also receive the VFW Action Alerts about urgent legislative activities, and how to make your voices heard. Help promote it by posting the link on your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.).
Sign-up online for the VFW Action Corps Weekly: https://votervoice.net/VFW/register
- BE INFORMED – Know the Issues: Congress must pass and fully fund programs needed to take care of our veterans, service members and their families. Never reduce one veteran benefit to pay for another. Our nation has a long-standing obligation to provide for the needs of those who have sacrificed and are still sacrificing to protect the precious freedoms and liberties we all enjoy.
Familiarize yourself with the 2020 VFW Priority Goals. It is the overarching position paper which identifies the major policy goals of the VFW. It can help you discuss/correspond with your respective Congressional Members.
Following are the latest three VFW Priority Legislative Initiatives from the VFW Fall Legislative Conference:
- Veterans’ Benefits: Congress must pass the provision to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and parkinsonism to the list of presumptive conditions associated with Agent Orange in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.
- Veterans’ Health Care: Congress must pass HR 7879 – VA Telehealth Expansion Act, which awards grants for the expansion of telehealth capabilities and provision of telehealth services to veterans through the VA and the Veterans Community Care Program. This is a critical benefit for those underserved veterans who live in rural communities.
Huge victory right after our Legislative Conference! The House passed the Senate-passed version of S. 785 – Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 which will provide VA the authority it needs to expand suicide prevention efforts and provide the opportunity to expand telehealth capabilities. Veterans account for 13% of adult suicides in the U.S. with an average of 17.5 veterans and service members who die by suicide every day. The John Scott Hannon Bill now heads to the President’s desk to sign as law.
- Concurrent Receipt: Congress must pass R. 5995 – Major Richard Star Act and S. 3393, which would enable Chapter 61 veterans discharged due to combat-related injuries to be entitled to DOD longevity payment and VA disability compensation without offset. DOD retired pay and VA service-connected disability compensation are fundamentally different benefits, granted for different reasons. Military retirees qualify for retirement pay with 20 or more years of dedicated service to our nation. These same veterans may also qualify for disability compensation for any injuries that were caused or aggravated by their military service.
- BE ENGAGED – Use the VFW and VFW Auxiliary Legislative Tools and Resources: Our National Organization has provided us with tools and resources at our fingertips. Login to MALTA. If you do not currently have a MALTA account, all you need is your membership number to get started! Once you have an account, it will open doors to you to ensure that you have the latest info on our great organization. It can provide you with innovative ideas on how you can best serve our veterans and our communities. Please give it a try — you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain!
CALL TO ACTION! VOTE!
We are approximately two weeks away from Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Voting is a right and a privilege as a citizen of this great nation. Participation is the essence of democracy! Vote on Election Day – YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
REMEMBER – “All Politics Are Local.”: We need to elect pro-veteran candidates who will support our veterans, service members and their families while in office.
Let’s all work together and ensure that our unified voices are heard on Capitol Hill! Our veterans and their families are counting on us to advocate for them to ensure they receive, protect and preserve the benefits they were promised when they enlisted to serve our country.
To learn more about this year’s Legislative Program, please check out my video presentation available on the Program & Publicity Resources page of the website under Legislative: 2020-2021 VFW Auxiliary Legislative Program Overview.
Please continue the great work you are doing so we can continue to make a difference; be an advocate and a strong voice for our veterans and their families.
Please feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have any questions or need assistance. I am always here to assist you.
“UNWAVERING SUPPORT FOR UNCOMMON HEROES®”
“HONORING OUR MISSION TO SERVE VETERANS”